On The Road Again, Chapter 3, The House Remodel

Historical Background

We had our DECISION (see Chapter 2).

Let me back up for a moment and start at the beginning of this magical journey. My husband, Robert Oblon, Sr., is my second husband whom I met in the Bay Area on Match.com in 2000 (yes, I met the man of my dreams on Match!). Before meeting Robert, I was a single, working mother for twelve years. When my daughter graduated high school I felt the anchor lifting. All of a sudden I wanted to move someplace new and start over as a single woman. I had absolutely come to peace with the idea of growing older by myself.

I began this process by putting my small house in Campbell, California, on the market. I also booked a rental in Kauai, Hawaii, for a 3-week decompression vacation by myself. Everything was in place…

Then, I received an email on Match.com from a man. His message was simple and straightforward, “Hi. Check out my profile and if you’re interested in meeting me, let me know.” I pulled up his Match profile. As I read it, I felt a strong bolt of energy surge through my body. IT WAS POWERFUL. He had my attention. He was an artist. He was Jewish. His photo was fuzzy. Couldn’t really tell what he looked like (those were the early days of the Web). It didn’t matter. I wanted to explore further.

Let me explain. I’m Jewish. I was a rebel and never desired to follow my parent’s wishes to marry a fellow Jew. But, after a lifetime of relationships not working out, I had recently decided to seek out a Jewish man. I thought maybe a shared cultural background would create a tighter bond. Also, I had been telling my friends that I was going to marry an artist some day. This revelation came through a psychic reading I had in Boston at the Tremont Tea Room (I highly recommend this place!). It felt right.

So, here was this email from a Jewish Artist. Hmm… Even though I was in the middle of packing my house, putting it on the market, moving out of the area, and leaving for three weeks in Kauai, I emailed him back. The rest is history. We’ve been together almost twenty years. Good story, eh?

The Remodel of Our Central Coast Home

My artist husband moved with me to the California Central Coast in 2001 (we both commuted between the Bay Area and Central Coast for three years) and we purchased a 2.5 acre property where he build his dream artist studio. We lived there for eighteen years. Now, in order to sell our house for top dollar, the house needed some updates. We started the remodel in May of 2018, figuring the remodel would be completed by mid-summer. I can see your eyes rolling already…you’ve been there, too. The best laid plans.

Our kitchen had been remodeled about ten years prior, and we didn’t want to do more to the kitchen because most buyers want to put their own touches on a kitchen. So we didn’t touch the kitchen.

Here’s the list of updates:

  1. Refinish wood floors in living room and den
  2. Replace two windows and any worn window screens
  3. Install electric gate to property (manual gate open prior)
  4. Replace gate columns and lights
  5. Rebuild portions of wrap-around deck
  6. Remodel upstairs master bathroom
  7. Remodel upstairs “jack and jill” bathroom
  8. Replace mirrored closet doors with modern closet doors
  9. Redo long, circular driveway (with chip seal)
  10. Paint exterior house and detached garage

I created an Excel spreadsheet for all the updates, with additional minor updates not listed above that we could do ourselves, and we started scheduling the work. The “jack and jill” bathroom remodel was the first project and that went quickly, being finished by mid-June.

Starting back in early summer, we had garage sales every weekend to pare down our belongings. But, as we made clutter disappear, more would appear! Every nook and cranny of our property had things tucked away. This went on forever…

Each of the updates created a fresher, move-in-ready effect that would attract our ideal buyer.

We were moving along quite nicely, until we were not. A huge snag happened. The plumbing contractor forgot to order a small window for the master bathroom shower, so the project stalled for two months. We wanted to replace the large window where the new tiled shower would be with a smaller window (I mean really, would you shower in front of a huge window??? I don’t think so!)

Master Bathroom BEFORE (the large window would be removed, sheet rocked, and a smaller window would replace it)

That meant we couldn’t paint the outside of the house yet. We were on hold, and, as a result, we missed the summer house-buying season. I was disheartened, but there was nothing to do about it. So I continued to de-clutter and pack what I could.

Delay, Delay, Delay

Meanwhile, we had our porch deck completely rebuilt, installed the electric gate with new columns and lights, and finished as many projects as we could while we were waiting for that darn bathroom window.

Fall appeared. It started to rain.

Finally the critical bathroom window arrived and we could see the end of this long remodel project. We met with our realtor in early October. We staged our house and it looked absolutely beautiful! Everything was shiny and fresh, and the new, white paint on the house made it look like a contemporary, country farm house.

Master Bathroom AFTER (The most amazing shower experience, with the smaller window neatly ensconced!)

The first open house was on October 21st. It had rained the day before. Basically, only a handful of “lookie-loo’s” came to our first open house. Everyone was older, most were retired, and looking for retirement property. They didn’t want to climb stairs to the second floor bedrooms. We wondered when would our buyer appear?

Time rolled on. I was trying to stay positive and hopeful….

2019-04-30T16:05:06+00:00 April 30th, 2019|4 Comments


  1. Linda Waldon May 1, 2019 at 7:17 am

    I know, right? How can I not be positive about life when the things I dream about actually come true? Remember Wayne Dyer? He used to say, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” That statement totally turned my world around. Regarding not wanting to leave your house, I think it might be because you raised your family there and created such sweet memories. We associate things with memories. I’m learning that we can disassociate the physical thing from the memory. That’s what helps me move on. You have a lot of living to do!

  2. Arlene May 1, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Now I know why you are so positive wow marrying a Jewish artist that you said years before it would happen!❤️ Love the declutter part Linda. From my experience if humans have empty space they fill it. Lol. Look forward to the next chapter. I refused to update our house but then I didn’t want to leave. Good job!

  3. Linda Waldon May 1, 2019 at 6:11 am

    You’re so right, Louise! I have so many juicy details to tell. Those will be in my “tell all” book which I’ve been saving for the day when I have time to write it all down — especially the part about how Robert and I met on Match, we’d talk for hours and hours on the phone, I fell in love with him basically over the phone, then I flew him (first class, using my airline points) to Kauai for one week of my vacation, and he got off the plane pretty “snockered” from all the MaiTai’s they served him. It was pretty hilarious. His friends thought he was nuts to fly to Kauai to be with a woman he barely knew, but he just shrugged it off as an adventure. That’s the man I married, always up for an adventure, like I am.

  4. Louise May 1, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Uh oh! Cliffhangar!

    Wonderful life story. So many parts where I want to know more. And those photographs are everything!. I imagine you have a LOT more of them for the book you’re writing…

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